O.J.'s Book to Get 'Oprah' Treatment

By Lisa de Moraes
Friday, August 24, 2007

The raging debate among O.J. Simpson and the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman as to whether O.J.'s book "If I Did It" should be published has finally turned out a winner.


Denise Brown, sister of O.J.'s dead ex, Nicole, and Fred and Kim Goldman, father and sister of Nicole's dead pal, Ron, agreed to confront each other about the publication on the Sept. 13 edition of the talk show hosted by the queen of book sales.

Denise Brown wants a boycott of the book in which Simpson details how he would have murdered his ex-wife and her friend on the night of June 12, 1994 -- if he'd done it. She has expressed shock and horror that the Goldman family reached a deal for "If I Did It," to be published by New York-based Beaufort Books.

Simpson was acquitted of the murders, but a civil court jury in 1997 found him liable for the deaths and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages to the Brown and Goldman families. In March, an L.A. Superior Court judge ruled the rights to the book must be put up for auction and all proceeds paid to Fred Goldman, who is still looking to collect on that $33.5 million judgment against the football star turned actor/sports commentator.

Before being awarded rights to the book, back when O.J. himself stood to see some coin off its sales, Goldman stood side by side with Denise Brown in being outraged at its publication.

It all started back in November when HarperCollins imprint ReganBooks announced it would publish "If I Did It" and ReganBooks chief Judith Regan would interview O.J. about the book in a TV special to be aired by the Fox broadcast network, which, like HarperCollins, is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

The Brown and Goldman families protested; also expressing unhappiness were some Fox TV stations, advertisers and booksellers. Just days later, Murdoch himself announced he'd pulled the book and the TV special, calling it "an ill-considered project." One month later, Regan was fired.

Now, months later, Goldman, Beaufort Books -- and Oprah -- have taken over.

Oprah will weigh in on the book for the first time on what's sure to be a highly rated episode of her syndicated talk show -- and just three days into its new season. Everyone will be waiting to see whether she gives the concept thumbs up or down, because you know what can happen to a book when it gets Oprah's imprimatur. Ka-ching!

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After just one episode, Fox has yanked "Anchorwoman," its reality TV series in which it posed the question, "Is a ratings-starved local TV newscast better served by putting a beauty pageant winner-cum-World Wrestling Entertainment diva in the anchor chair rather than the traditional beauty pageant winner-cum-communications major?"

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